A ‘Mini Grand Tour’ from Gran Alacant by Trevor Ashley and Bryan Thomas

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By Trevor Ashley and Bryan Thomas

curlewsandWe met up on the Sunday morning to discuss a short trip out locally. As we sat in Bryan’s garden an Alpine Swift put in an appearance in the sky. A good omen? We started off on Monfsy at the Santa Pola Salinas. An Osprey was resting on a post, one of their favoured resting places. Greenshank and Turnstone were around as were a few Sandwich Tern. About 40 Gadwall were counted with around fifteen Great White Egret and eight Spoonbill. El Pinet was the next port of call. Fairly quiet but it did afford close views of Slender billed Gulland four Stone Curlew were counted.

The ‘palm farm road’ and fields south of Vistabella road proved much more fruitful. A flock of sheep provided good pickings for Cattle Egret (often on their backs) and for Yellow Wagtails around their feet. A distant perching Booted Eagle reminded us that this is a stronghold for the species. An immature Black Crowned Night Heron posed for photos at the bridge and a couple of Whinchats were found – fine birds. A wet corner of a field next to the Vistabella house had pulled in a good selection of waders including four species of Sandpiper i.e. Green (3), Wood (2), Common (1) and Curlew Sandpiper. Also present in the shallow puddles were a good number of Ringed Plover, 2 Little Stint and 6 Snipe. As we headed back towards La Marina another field was almost completely flooded and, as you might expect it was full of birds. At least 18 Glossy Ibis numerous Black headed Gulls with a few Mediterranean Gulls and again countless Yellow Wagtails. Neither of us had been birding in Spain since June so this was a good reminder of what the area has to offer.

Species List – Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Black Crowned Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Kestrel, Red legged Partridge, Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Snipte, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black headed Gull, Slender billed Gull, Yellow legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Swallow, Red rumped Swallos, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Southern Grey Shrike, Magpie, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch.